Monday, April 21st, 2014 04:33 am
It's storytime with mama rahaeli: I think we've got a legacy 'feature' that can be removed, but I'm not 100% sure. Read the background and try to convince me one way or the other.

The situation as it is now: If you try to post to your journal with a time before your most recent entry, you are prevented from doing so.

(The check is in cgi-bin/LJ/, lines 1323-1327; the error is "You have an entry which was posted at $u->{'newesteventtime'}, but you're trying to post an entry before this. Please check the date and time of both entries. If the other entry is set in the future on purpose, edit that entry to use the \"Don't show on Reading Pages\" option. Otherwise, use the \"Don't show on Reading Pages\" option for this entry instead.")

This check was added in the LJ days (I'm not sure when, because the web gateway to LJ's source is down right now and I can't look up the history, but it was very early in my tenure so I want to say 2002 or so) to prevent a very common problem with people's computer clocks being set wrong. It was a horrible support burden (leading to dozens if not more support requests per day): someone's computer battery would be dying and their clock was set wrong because of it, or their clock would just be set a year or two off. Because entries in personal journals are displayed on the Recent Entries page by the time they're dated, not by the time the server received the post, a post dated 1970-01-01 would disappear completely: the person would post it, it would display on Recent Entries behind every other post they'd ever made, and they wouldn't be able to find it when they loaded their journal to see it so they would assume it hadn't been posted at all.

(This is not a problem in communities: to avoid the problem with having posters from many timezones, communities show all entries ordered by server time, not by user-supplied time.)

The fix definitely helped that problem, but it introduced the opposite problem (someone who posts once with an accidental date of 2038-01-01 then has to do some farting around with the backdating flag) and the whole concept of backdating in general is very hard to explain to people. It also, for us, causes issues with emailed-in posts: when someone emails a post to the site, it's posted with the timestamp in UTC (aka, DW server time), which then causes problems if someone wants to post within the 'window' of their timezone offset. (This is what made me start this post: I emailed in today's stupid kitten pic, which got a timestamp of 2014-04-21 0500 UTC, then I tried to post a second entry at 2014-04-21 0421 EDT and got the error. I've opened an issue for applying timezone offsets to emailed-in posts, but there's still the wider question to address.)

My gut instinct is that this check may have been necessary in 2002 (or whenever) when very few people had self-correcting clocks, but now it's 2014 and I don't think there's a single operating system out there that doesn't ship with the "update from timeservers" checkbox checked. I think the few people who will have disabled that auto-time-correction will be used to things behaving weirdly for them if their clock is hella off, and any potential support burden will be alleviated by the lack of having to support questions like "I posted an entry in 2020 to future-date it and now I can't update without errors".

So, discuss:

1) Do people think we can safely remove the "are you trying to post in the past" check?

2a) If not, should we switch to using system time for the "are you trying to post in the past" check? (IE, go by "time the entry was received by DW" rather than "time the user specifies for their post".)

2b) If yes, which of the two options should we take:

2b1) Eliminate all future-date/past-date checks when updating, but otherwise leave things as-is, so that entries on a personal journal's Recent Entries page are still displayed in the order they're dated, not the order they were posted;

2b2) Eliminate all future-date/past-date checks when updating, and switch to treating personal journals like communities, in which entries are displayed in strict order they're posted regardless of date specified by the user.

(I can make up some examples if people are confused about the distinction.)

I think we should get rid of the check, and we should otherwise leave things as-is (so: yes to 1, and of the two, option 2b1) but I am willing to entertain arguments in any direction. Convince me!
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 07:53 am
Okay, I say this while not being entirely caught up on the show - I just finished the episode with Sif - but I think it would be a really interesting twist if it turned out that Skye was the Clairvoyant all along.
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 01:53 am
Dreamwidth's APIs are poorly documented (people basically have to work off docs for old versions of LJ's APIs). They're also missing key features, like comment handling for more than backups.

I've been told there have been "some internal conversations about deprecating the XML-RPC API -- keeping it for backwards compatability, but moving to a much more modern second-gen API", but that nobody has had both the time and the inclination to work on designing such a thing.

Well, this is me, volunteering. To that end, I'm looking for input on what exactly such a new API needs to provide, and whether there's a preferred underlying technology to build on (exempli gratia, stick with XML-RPC? Change to SOAP? Use JSON? RESTful or not? et cetera). What I'm getting at here is that I'm entirely happy to take point, as it were, and to make decisions (especially where there's little or no consensus and someone has to make the call), draw up specs, write docs, and so forth, but the result is highly unlikely to be a really useful API unless I get input from more sources than my own experience and looks at the code.

At this stage, therefore, I want everything you, the reader, have to say on the subject. Use cases especially.

Friday, April 18th, 2014 09:21 am
[personal profile] minim_calibre had a terrible idea:

Or, why the hell did I decide to put on Acqua di Gio (pour femme)?



I can't even review it. It's... a fruity floral with notes of Weezer.
Thursday, April 17th, 2014 09:16 pm
I was just at Tesco. I did not previously know the checkout person.

CHECKOUT PERSON: So, that'll be £16.48.
MARN: (long pause) What happened in 1648? I thought it was the Spanish Armada. But that sounds like it should have been in 1548.
CHECKOUT PERSON: Yeah, that's definitely the Tudors. It was under Henry, wasn't it? The Mary Rose and all that.
MARN: I thought it was Elizabeth. Didn't Philip of Spain send the Armada because he wanted her to marry him?
CHECKOUT PERSON: Well, what you've gotta remember is, Spain as such didn't exist at the time. There were, like, two or three different states there, and then you've got the Holy Roman Empire making things more complicated...

(discussion continues for a while)

More of this, please.
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 11:02 pm
Most of my set last night wasn't quite this lewd, but this was the only song that got recorded!

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 07:26 am
The only thing less thrilling than Tax Day is having a dentist appointment on Tax Day.

I managed to finish e-filing on the afternoon of the 14th, after several days spent checking all the numbers TaxACT spit out, because on the first run it over-reported my state income by about $90,000 thanks to a glitch in how it transferred the information from my federal form 8949. OH OKAY THANKS.

When all was said and done, I owed less overall than I did last year, which was a relief, but with more state and less federal. When I went to authorize a direct debit from the state, the instructions said, "at least three days from the filing date, but no later than 4/15." So I put in 4/15, and it yelled at me about it not being three days out and wouldn't let me proceed until I changed it to 4/17. If the state comes after me for a late penalty, I will tell them to collect it from the TaxACT people.

At least they notified me that my state return was accepted. I didn't even get that satisfaction last year. Sheesh.

So after I got my teeth cleaned and ran a few errands, I came home to find Robby had completely dismantled the upstairs office so he could move things around, and I had a panic attack, because moving my stuff around without discussing it with me first is NOT OK. I like how the shelves are arranged now that he's done, but in the aftermath, it's even more egregious how much crap I have piled up there that I need to get rid of. I spent most of the evening boxing up the kids' outgrown clothes, which is NOT how I'd planned to spend my time.

Other things I need to do with the rest of my week include making uncomfortable phone calls, hemming my Easter outfit, and reading the comic books Mack lent me a few months ago. Hopefully next week will be less stressful. In the meantime, at least I have a Nickel Creek concert to look forward to tonight.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 08:13 pm
So I'm mainlining Big Bang Theory both in an effort to catch up and to inspire the epic Penny/Amy fic I need to write for a big bang. Nothing for the big bang idea, however, I do have two new poly ideas for Penny/Amy/Sheldon where the Sheldon/Penny side is purely platonic/buddies, the Sheldon/Amy is asexual/intelectual/emotion, and the Amy/Penny is emotional/sexual. Granted, this is my ideal OTP for the fandom, so yay for that.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 10:49 am
(This post could be triggering. Click here to skip past it and return to your regularly-scheduled community and/or reading-list browsing.)

[community profile] noncon_meme is a brand-new panfandom kink meme focusing on non-consensual sexual activities (in layman's terms: yes, that means rape). All fandoms, characters, and kinks are welcome in this anonymous, non-judgemental space. If non-con is your thing, come give the meme a try.

The first meme post is open here, and I can be contacted here if you have any questions.

Monday, April 14th, 2014 02:32 pm

Posted by karen

I will be speaking on volunteers at LinuxCon Japan on the 22nd May.  I have never attended this conference before as the timing hasn’t worked out.  I’m a little nervous about speaking in front on an unknown audience but since I’m speaking on the final day of the conference I will have time to get used to the venue and to hear some of the other speakers.

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 02:01 pm

Posted by karen

We have had visitors for a couple of weeks and I spent quite a bit of my time attempting to be a tour guide.  I’m not always good at it.  I walk too fast, walk too far, and sometimes walk to places that aren’t open.  But I had fun and I got to see some new places in Japan.

Hakone Open Air Museum

Hakone Open Air Museum